CHIHULY Inspired Sun Catcher Made From Recycled Plastic Drinking Cups

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. I use a regular cookie sheet lined with parchment to put the plastic on for melting/shrinking in the oven. The shrinking only takes 2-3 minutes, so stay close. Use sharp scissors to cut plastic cups into different shapes (or leave whole). BEFORE you melt/shrink it, punch a hole in the plastic (it will be too hard after). The more variation in the plastic cups (bumps, ridges, etc.) the more interesting the piece will be. You can bend a piece after it is melted as long as you do it very quickly while the plastic is still very warm, you can flattened it with a metal spatula, or leave it as is. Using the cups is far less predictable than flat plastic, it twists and curls in strange ways. Be open to surprises! Use fishing line to string and hang up but you can use cord or ribbon.

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Have a question about this project?

9 questions
  • Nikki Fisher
    on Nov 11, 2015

    If I have already done some melting in my oven am I in danger? I kept the house very ventilated but didnt consider the problem of it in the oven...

  • Judith Ann Cheesley-Hynes
    on May 30, 2016

    What type of plastic cups..hard plastic like you buy in wallyworld...or some other type.. .not sure cause it says use sissors..

    • Diana Kamps
      on Jun 1, 2016

      Sorry, don't recall the recycle # BUT... can tell you this, the ones from the dollar store are too flimsy

    • Linda Mulhall
      on Feb 9, 2017

      This article is about what you can do with Solo brand cups.

  • Elaine Stephens
    on Sep 2, 2016

    howdo you melt the cups

  • Irene
    on Nov 26, 2016

    The picture on the right and left are different. How do I achieve the look on the left? I saw a light fixture that looked like that (mostly corkscrew designs) and it was $6,000. Since $6.00 or possibly $60 matches my pocketbook, I would love to try this.

    • Diana Kamps
      on Dec 1, 2016

      The picture on the left is made of glass by the artist Chihuly. The photo on the right is made from recycled plastic inspired by Chi

    • Kathi
      on Dec 10, 2016

      artist Chihuly art work is very, very expensive!

    • Linda Mulhall
      on Feb 9, 2017

      I think I would play around with cutting different shapes until I found some that melt in similar shapes to Dale Chihuly work.

    • Chere
      on Aug 29, 2017

      Chere How about trying plastic straws? Perhaps the fatter ones. I loved this one also. We have good taste..ha,ha,ha
  • Susie Campbell
    on Feb 8, 2017

    Isn't it toxic to burn plastic ?

    • Lila Carter
      on Apr 6, 2017

      I melted pony beads in the oven and I'll never do that again. I would suggest maybe using your grill outdoors.
    • Becky White Raybourn
      on Sep 5, 2017

      Your not burning them just melting and it only take a couple minutes. No smell unless you leave long enough to create a liquid.
  • Teena Adam
    on May 23, 2017

    How and what do you use to hang it???
  • Ghislaine Noel
    on Sep 14, 2017

    How did you make it, please?
    • Diana Kamps
      on Oct 10, 2017

      I cut pieces of plastic drinking cups and melted in the oven as described above
    • Kc Nordquist
      on Apr 16, 2020

      Yes, what kind of cups? Sippy cups, throw-away plastic cups, thrift store miscellaneous? Please give us more information.

    on Dec 8, 2018


  • Midnight
    on Apr 15, 2020

    Is the plastic cups not poisonous when heated? It’s a carcinogen for everything I have read

Join the conversation

3 of 44 comments
  • Robbie White
    on Feb 6, 2020

    I might try this but would like more details: type of cups, photos if the process, how to manipulate the cup shapes, etc.

    • Diana Kamps
      on Apr 16, 2020

      When the cups heat up in the oven, they melt down and create their own shape

  • Robbie White
    on Apr 17, 2020

    Thank you, I’m doing it!!!

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